Greetings again; you’re now reading the fourth part of our awesome Best of 2018 awards.
ICYMI, we’ve added Days One to Three below:
This time, we’ll be touching upon the best lookers, best sounders, and everything else in-between before the GOTY stuff. In other words, let’s focus on STYLLLEEEEEEE….and perhaps a disappointment or two.
What would 2018 be without dashed hopes and broken dreams? This is the games industry after all.
Check out the winners after these stills of the Malaysian kung-fu romp Petaling Street Warriors.
Best Strategy Game
Into The Breach
If a good strategy game design boils down to providing a series of interesting decisions, then what comes next should be a series of interesting consequences. With Into The Breach, you’re presented with a series of crazy obstacles and interesting choices to make with just one overarching goal in mind: protect the city.
You’re not going to overpower the enemies here since they come in droves and can overwhelm you; rather, you have to be dominant in the positions you take and even sacrifice your own guys for the greater goal.
This is a much more dense game that we felt we could get by for hours on end. The best part? You can pick up the game’s controls and mechanics easily and on the fly; you just have to worry about what strategy you must employ to stave off the bugs. It ain’t a looker by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s a brainteaser of epic proportion.
Runner-Up: Into The Breach, Mutant Year Zero: Road To Eden
Best Art Style
Red Dead Redemption 2
After much debating and abuse of democracy, we’ll have to give this award to Red Dead Redemption 2. Everything from the game’s menu to the in-game objects like shop catalogues and authentic weapons screams of the Wild West.
The folks at Rockstar Games have lovingly crafted the most realistic depiction of America’s most romanticized age in a video game. You ain’t seen Red Dead 2 unless you’ve explored every nook and cranny on the game’s map, riding along onto your trusty steed as the sun sets onto the horizons of the plains where the buffalos roam.
It is currently the quintessential cowboy game with the definitive Sergio Leone look tailor-made for this generation. There are none like it save for the first Red Dead Redemption, and that’s 8 years ago, compadre.
Runners-Up: Return of the Obra Dinn, Dragon Ball FighterZ, Octopath Traveler, God of War, Dead Cells, Gris.
Best Soundtrack (That Isn’t From Octopath Traveler)
A word on the category: Octopath Traveler gets this award hands-down, no contest. You have to be tone deaf, or just plain deaf, not to agree to this logical conclusion.
Which is why Octopath Traveler’s OST is getting its own category below. We’ve decided to give the other gaming OSTs a fighting chance. And truth be told, we have a great second-tier selection of tunes. But the clear runner-up is the orchestra stylings of God of War.
Bear McCreary has done a lot of TV show OSTs, so it’s awesome to see him bring that level of intensity and drama to the father-son tale of Kratos and Atreus, set in Norse mythology. The themes of knowledge, power, masculinity, and fatherhood resonate within the simple-yet-effective melodies and keys used in this game’s score. Standout tracks include “Deliverance” and “Memories of Mother”.
Runners-Up: Wandersong, Xenoblade Chronicles 2: Torna ~ The Golden Age, Celeste, Tetris Effect.
Best Octopath Traveler Track
Why “Battle II”? The violins; Jesus Christ it’s the violins. They make our chosen track more than a standard battle theme and signals the halfway point of each of the Octopath Traveler cast’s arduous journey.
This track gets you amped. It gets you geared up for the trials ahead. And most importantly, it cements Yasunori Nishiki’s relevance in the game music industry circle alongside luminaries like Jeremy Soule, Nobuo Uematsu, and Yasunori Mitsuda. Okay, that’s hyperbole, but Nishiki-san’s at least a step below the greats.
Runners-Up: Decisive Battle 2, Main Theme, Cyrus’ Theme, Tressa’s Theme, Victor’s Hollow, A Settlement In The Red Bluffs.
Best Action-Adventure Game
God of War
Sony and Santa Monica Studios did a damn good job at turning the God of War games on its head. Instead of going back to the previous designs of the four mothership God of War titles -which honestly has run its course- the devs decide to just make a more intimate style of combat that just feels different and works really well in the third-person degree.
Of course, the game will kick your ass if you just rush headlong into things so you’ll need to be patient and methodical with the parrying and the axe-chucking and the Atreus orders-barking. Coupled with good puzzles and level design, as well as an epic narrative filled with rewarding side quests, and you have the whole package that is a well-made action adventure title for the year.
Runners-Up: Marvel’s Spider-Man, Monster Hunter: World, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey
Best Gaming Moment
The Things Under Your House In God of War
In fact, these moments are so good, we’re going to link to each of them. Most of them are spoiler-riffic, so click with care.
Runners-Up: A Way Out’s reveal, the last climb in Celeste, Dragon Quest XI’s “Return of the King”-esque sendoff, Tetris Effect’s desert bit, Marvel’s Spider-Man’s ending, the pub scene with Lenny in Red Dead Redemption 2, Yamcha’s Dramatic Finish in Dragon Ball FighterZ.
Disappointments don’t necessarily mean terrible products or events. Most of the time, it can be a long-awaited thing that ends up becoming way less than a sum of its parts. Heck, it can even be something that was once good and trend-setting which for some unknown reason, turned lacklustre during this particular year.
Unfortunately, we’re going to give this award to PlayStation’s not-so-hot take on the retro gaming box. It’s amazing that a first-party company can cock up a surefire thing: follow what Nintendo did with its NES and SNES Mini, put in the games people want, and then make sure it runs like a beast.
PlayStation did the first step right, kinda muddled up the second, and then s*** the bed with the last. The games on the PlayStation Classic are middling at best; we made a list of games that were missing, remember? And the games we got? Jesus, some of them don’t even run in their native framerates. Even the emulation is spotty at best. Shouldn’t it be better than third-party emulations out there?
This may be a good Christmas present for some, but this method has the potential to taint and damage people’s perception of how PlayStation 1 gaming was like. At the very least, the plastic case it comes with looks spiffy and you can put in your own games if you know your hacking and coding.
Runners-Up: GameStart 2018, Metal Gear Survive, Fallout 76.
Stay tuned for the fifth day of the awards this Monday, 31st January 4pm GMT+8. We have our Best & Worst game picks of 2018; you don’t want to miss this.